My experiences at WWDC (2012), what to do.
First of all, if you managed to get a ticket or won one because you applied for the scholarship, congratulations! That’s great.
Since WWDC is the place to be for everyone involved in apps, development and Apple, it’s good to know some stuff. Do not think that I’m a WWDC veteran or whatever, I’m just a 16 year old developer who had one of the best weeks of his life last year and I would love to share a list of good things to know before going there.
Flying/staying in San Francisco
If you’re not living in or nearby San Francisco, you better fly to the San Francisco Airport (SFO). From there, grab a cab (UBER) into the city. Most people will probably look for a place to stay near Moscone West. Don’t do that. The hotels there are affordable, but remember, there are reasons for that. I stayed in a bed & breakfast inn nearby Alamo Square, which is (far) away from Moscone West, but it’s a nice place to stay and surrounded with typical houses. Plus, a 35/40 minute walk in the morning through San Francisco is not that bad.
What to bring
One really important thing to bring is ofcourse chargers, remember, there are different outlets in the US. Bring extra juice for your devices when there isn’t a plug nearby. I recommend Mophie’s Power Station Pro. Since the Ethernet is probaby faster than the Wi-Fi, I advise you to bring an Ethernet Adaptor. Downloading beta software on Wi-Fi is a no-go, especially when 5000 other attendees are trying so.
Do not forget to free some space in your luggage for all of the t-shirts and freebies you’ll get at WWDC. If you plan drive out of the city (which I highly reccomend), you should make sure to manage your data plan the right way.
Sunday will be the day to pick-up your badge. Information about where to pick-up your badge and at what time is available on the WWDC page on Apple’s website. Make sure to be there early. There will be desks sorted on the first letter of your name. There’s a special line for students, if you’re a student, look for that line.
The badge is very important, the guards will check your badge almost every time when you’re entering Moscone West or when you go to another floor inside Moscone West. Make sure it’s always with you (it’s also your “WWDC-Swag”).
Say hello. There are 5000 developers around you, they all have their own story and apps, which is most of the time really interesting and good to hear. Plus, the sessions will be available later on so it’s good to network around with people. If you’re really focused on meeting people, make sure to connect with the people you’d like to meet on Twitter, it’s the medium to meet people at WWDC. I know, I know, I know, businesscards are kinda old-fashioned, but bring them since most of the people are still using them. If you bring them, make them look stylish, since the business card is likely the only thing they’ll remember about you when they’re back home sorting their business cards.
Oh and there is a lot of Wall Street Journal journalists walking around, meet them.
The program will be available on the WWDC page on Apple’s website. There’s a feature in there which allows you to ‘plan/mark’ the sessions you’re interested in when you’re there. You’ll notice a lot of sessions without any name/title, the infamous “Session to be Announced”-session. That’s because they will be about content which has been announced in the keynote the monday before. You better mark those sessions. Make sure to be there on time, the most popular/interesting sessions will have the longest lines.
If I ever see a line again in my life, the first thing I’ll think of is WWDC. Lines were literally everywhere. Think of something where a line could occur, look at it, and there’s a line at WWDC. Yes, lines are in the restrooms too. (All these moments of waiting are good to connect with people, you never know who you’re standing next to!) And no, it’s not weird talking about new features and code while standing in the restroom.
As you probably know, the keynote to start the conference is the very first session. People tried to explain what is happing there in words of “ambience”. You can’t really get an impression by these words you should really experience it yourself.
What I can say about the keynote is that you really feel Apple. The coldplay music, the lights, the people, it’s just Apple, the way you haven’t experienced it before. Every little thing is just right. If you’re not a blogger or whatever, you should just turn off your devices and enjoy the keynote.
Alright, fair enough. I know what you’re thinking. “I wanna sit in the front!”.
Make sure to be as early as possible in line for the keynote. There will definitely be some guys the day before, but if you manage to be there on time, you’ll definitely get there. Last year I got in line at 2 AM and I sat on row 3. While standing in line people are handing out a lot of cool stuff. Ask Siri for that nights’ weather.
At one moment Apple will open Moscone West and everybody will be like:”OMG OMG OMG, they did just open the door, I can see people inside! OMG!” You can feel that people are excited. After they’ve opened the door, you’ll have to wait 1 or 2 hour(s) inside, there will be breakfast in the halls. This is on floor 2.
When time’s running out, you’ll have to go to floor 3, which is the floor where “Presidio” is located, the famous keynote room. You’ll see that people are pushing and trying to get closer, stay strong buddy. When you’re at floor 3, people will just start running and pushing to get as close to the stage as possible. You should run too, there’s no other way to get close to the stage.
Bring your code
Bring your code plus all the questions you have. There are over a thousand Apple employees walking around that would love to help you with problems or answering your questions. Make sure to write down all of your questions so they can help you instantly.
The bash is being held in the Yerba Buena Gardens which is great. There are artists and it’s simply cool. Go there, don’t forget your identity + badge. Sorry, but if you’re under 18, you’re not allowed to go there. Though, I sneaked in there last year. You might meet cool Apple executives (yes, the guys from the product videos). So how did I sneak in? Well, that’s a funny story. First we (Peter & I) tried to get in via trees and climbing over fences. Didn’t work. After trying a lot of possible ways of getting in, I had this idea of just walking in the main entrance. Instead of showing our “Bash badge/wristband” we’d show our normal event badge. We did, and we got it. Easy.
Since you are in Silicon Valley, you better make use of it. Startups and cool companies are literally everywhere. Some cool places to visit:
- The Apple Campus, the only way to get inside the campus is having friends or family working there to get you inside. You can visit the Company Store, which is basically just a store with a lot of Apple goodies.
- Stanford, the finest university in the whole world. I find it one of the most inspirational places I have ever been.
- Facebook, the “Like-button board” is the Facebook-picture. Again, the only way to get inside the campus is having friends or family working there.
- Steve’s garage.The rest is history.
- Just hang around in Palo Alto, go for a lunch or a coffee and enjoy.
- Look on your homescreen, find your top-5 apps you use almost every day, look up their addresses (huge chance they’re based in Silicon Valley), email/call them asking if they find it cool if you visit them, visit them.
Have fun! Take a few pictures and roll!
By the way, don’t sound like a noob, when someone’s talking about “Dubdub”, they’re talking about “WWDC”.
I might write/add more in this article. Oh and do not hesitate to add a note and ask for something! I’d love to tell you more about it.